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New Mexico snowpack levels lowest in years, less water for farmers

Officials with the National Weather Service are reporting that snowpack levels in New Mexico are at the lowest levels since 2000.

Officials with the National Weather Service are reporting that snowpack levels in New Mexico are at the lowest levels since 2000. They also say the snowpack in southern Colorado is at 50 percent.

That snowpack feeds the Rio Grande, which means there will be less water for farmers.

Richard Llanez showed us how farmers in Dona Ana County have to water their fields right now.

"If you don't have a pump, you don't farm. Period. Bottom line. You don't farm," said Llanez.

This year, farmers are scheduled to start getting water from the Rio Grande in June, which means they have to use well water to start irrigating, which is more expensive.

"Propane right now running on average $2 a gallon. Diesel is over $3 a gallon," said Llanez.

Officials with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District said the allotment isn't expected to increase because a limited spring runoff is predicted.

Llanez says he wishes they would let farmers have access to the river water earlier.

"Right now, this dry ground is nothing but a sponge. It will soak up that (water), and it takes a long time to pre-irrigate," said Llanez.

More than one-third of New Mexico is dealing with extreme drought.

Currently, the drought monitor shows our Borderland area as "abnormally dry."

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